A baroque music festival in Hobart sounded right with particularly appropriate settings such as the Theatre Royal and the pretty Town Hall. But this exotic bird has flown north to the more welcoming artistic climate of Brisbane in April. Brisbane Baroque is anchored by a Handel opera, Faramondo, in a production from the highly respected Gottingen International Opera Festival. In Brisbane its performance setting is the contemporary but aptly sized Conservatorium Theatre.
This production, directed by Australian director Paul Curran in the inevitable modern German style, has been much admired with a young international cast. The undoubted star turn of Brisbane Baroque is the Croatian countertenor, Max Emanuel Cencic who possesses a voice that is beautiful, warm and supple. His first and only performance is in the QPAC Concert Hall.
A series called Under the Rotunda in the impressive City Hall features Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas in concert, hunting horns with the Orchestra of the Antipodes, soprano Sara Macliver in baroque cantatas, and happily Bach-Sacred and Secular. Among the festival rarities are Biber’s Rosary Sonatas for violin.
Specialist music festivals are now available around the world, many of them featuring music of the baroque, much of which had largely disappeared until the latter 20th century. Leo Schofield has brought his vision to Brisbane, adding to its already distinguished diary of events.
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